Monday, April 30, 2018

Legendary Enchainment

James links to a BBC article about conversation-after-lunch in Spain, and I too believe that achieving the Legendary Enchainment would be marvelous.

However, it is not easy to accomplish, with any meal. I greatly desire to sit long and converse after eating, yet it seldom happens.  I might almost say that it never has happened. My wife eats extremely quickly, with entire focus and little chewing.  The only other thing I have seen her focus on with that intensity is reading. People with children seldom have the flexibility to engage in long after-meals.  Even if some children are older and able to entertain themselves, there is nearly always a special circumstance - little sleep the night before, a soccer practice, a school project due.

Large family get-togethers might accomplish some of this, though people seldom remain at a single table long. 

American restaurants do not encourage such things, certainly.  We might wish they did, but they also have to make a living in a competitive market. Is this what older people going to Early Bird Specials experience? Perhaps I will embrace rather than reject it after all.  Except I suspect that there will be too many boring people to make it all that interesting.


Dan Patterson said...

Do the same but at your home with a variety of friends. Children are welcomed but not for after dinner (supper where I'm from) extended conversation and men generally tend to separate themselves from women. Both are positive developments.
A valuable and enriching experience and one I recommend to all adults.

jaed said...

When I was little and my family would go out to a restaurant, my parents would sit after the meal over coffee and talk between themselves. It was an agonizingly boring period for the kids at the table, because we weren't participants in the adult conversation but we couldn't do anything but sit there. When the waitress would approach and ask "More coffee?" and my parents would say "Yes", I remember groaning along with my brothers, because it meant we'd be stuck there at least another twenty minutes.

I wonder whether lingering memories of that experience are a reason some people don't do it.

Dubbahdee said...

I'm your guy. I'm pretty sure that if we apply ourselves, we can find that sweet spot.

John Galt said...

I don't know if it's the same . In many café across America duffers will set around a table for their social hour ( or longer). Maybe to talk about current events, maybe to relive the glory days. Whatever. Some " meet" on certain days...some " hold court" every days.

Or...perhaps my wifes' friend is closer to what you have in mind. She likes to " digest" and can stretch a meal out rather long.

As for myself...I tend to eat quickly but sometimes will slow things down. Diet " experts" often talk about the value of eating slowly. Lets your brain and stomach communicate...realize you are full. ( Plus when I get a chance I love the " duffer" experience. Some men used to hang at a pool hall or barber shop. Now men and sometimes women will set at a café for a rather long time. I note that by definition Duffers are at or near retirement. Teen " hangouts" are still out there. Saddly I see little for 20-60 yr olds other than bars.

Donna B. said...

I would say this would be the exact opposite of what the Early Bird Special experience is. First, they are expected to vacate for the younger dinner crowd; second, they like to eat earlier because they are going to bed earlier or don't want to drive after dark; and third, they want to miss the crowds.

It's a sad fact that individually owned family restaurants are becoming harder to find too. These are the places where this type of conversation can happen most easily, as noted in the article. If your server has been trained to say "Hi, I'm (insert cutesy name) and I'll be your server today", they have no clue what to do if you don't leave when you're through eating.

When I was growing up, my parents invited people over to eat and they got invited in return. This was where the conversations happened, much like Don Patterson describes. My daughters are doing this again and I love visiting when they are hosting. They are interesting people and they have interesting friends. There's some of the men and women segregating, but not like it was in my parents' time.